Grains, Legumes, Fruits, and Vegetables: Lente Carbohydrate Sources in the Mediterranean Diet

  • Thomas M. S. Wolever
  • Alexandra L. Jenkins
  • Peter J. Spadafora
  • David J. A. Jenkins


Foods of plant origin have always played a central role in the nutrition of Mediterranean peoples. The Roman conquest of Egypt was to secure a grain supply: Britain was valued by Rome as the granary of the North. Legumes also were highly prized in biblical times. Esau gave away his inheritance for a “mess of Pottage,” a bowl of lentil soup. Cicero, the great republican Roman orator and statesman, derived his name from the chick-pea (Cicer arietanum) due to the pealike lesion on the nose of one of his ancestors. Cereals and legumes, therefore, represent foods that have been respected for their essential functions in the human diet since antiquity. We suggest that one of the reasons why many of these traditional foods have special health attributes, in addition to being low in saturated fat, is that they are also slowly absorbed.


Short Chain Fatty Acid Mediterranean Diet Glycemic Index Soluble Fiber Glycemic Response 
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© Van Nostrand Reinhold 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas M. S. Wolever
  • Alexandra L. Jenkins
  • Peter J. Spadafora
  • David J. A. Jenkins

There are no affiliations available

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